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Our skin is the largest organ, and an amazing indicator of our overall health.
By: Sophie Leaver
Yoga teacher & wellbeing expert
Everyday it is confronted with pollutants, weather, and chemicals. As a result our skin, just like us, can feel tired, irritated, and dull. However, a few mindful changes to our daily routine can work wonders, making it possible to treat our skin from within rather than relying on expensive face creams and treatments. Follow these ten simple tips to help you pave the way to a healthy, radiant and glowing complexion.
1. Warm Lemon Water
Drinking a mug of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it each morning can help to kick start your digestive system, rehydrate you, balance your PH, and deliver a boost of rejuvenating vitamin C. Lemon acts as a natural liver cleanser, and has powerful antiseptic properties. Your body, and skin, will thank you for replacing your morning coffee with something much more energising. When I am feeling particularly lethargic, I love to up the ante by adding half a tablespoon of powdered turmeric, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. This potent mix does wonders for your digestive system which, in turn, makes your skin glow!
2. Get your greens
Raw, cooked, blended, powdered- it doesn’t matter as long as you’re increasing your intake of nutritious green vegetables every day. Dark leafy greens like arugula, spinach and kale help to fight the free radicals that break down collagen over time. Use these leaves as a base to your salad, sautee them for dinner, mix them through an omelette, or blend them into your smoothie or green juice.
But don’t stop there- a healthy diet is one that is varied and abundant. Avocados are a delicious treat and a great supply of healthy fats and phytonutrients. You can mash them up and use them as an amazing face mask, or instead you can use them instead of butter, or even sneak them into your desserts with avocado lime cheesecake or avocado cacao mousse. Smashed avocado on toast shouldn’t just be limited to brunch.. I could eat it all day every day! Can you tell how much I love avocados…?
3. Make like the MediterraneanMediterranean women always seem to have the most enviably clear skin and sparkling eyes. Maybe it’s the sun and the sea that help, but it’s mostly down to their fresh and flavoursome diets. Don’t quite have the time or budget to head over to Santorini for the sake of your skin? You can mirror their diets at home with a clever selection of fresh foods and supplements. Salmon and other fatty fish contain essential fats that help skin elasticity, and are known to help protect against the damaging effects of sunlight. You can get these benefits by taking omega oil supplements every day. Extra virgin olive oil, when eaten uncooked and in moderation, can deliver your skin with the monounsaturated fats it needs to glow. What’s more, it helps reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Lastly, a healthy dose of vitamin K will help reduce puffiness or dark circles around the eyes. You can get this from eggs, milk, cheese, cabbage and berries. Try to eat dairy in its whole, full fat form to get the most benefits and avoid the chemicals in low-fat or skim versions.
4. Break a sweatEvery cell in our body benefits from physical exercise, and our skin is certainly no exception. When our pores dilate, sweat expels trapped oil and dirt. Exercise also helps to reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, and tackle free-radical damage. Going for a walk, jog, having a workout at the gym, or any other form of exercise that gets the blood and oxygen flowing will help to rejuvenate the skin. Incorporating exercise into your day will help your skin and body in so many ways. I notice that when I exercise I have more energy, better concentration, my moods are more stable and I sleep more soundly. All of this helps to relieve stress, which allows your skin to look its best!
5. Roll out your matThe benefits of yoga are seemingly endless. Practicing yoga is known to help to calm the body’s nervous system, improve circulation, and help detoxify the body. Practicing asanas which involve a twist stimulate the inner organs and aid the digestive process. Asanas which involve inversions, such as a head or handstand or forward bend, encourage blood circulation and increase oxygenation to the system. You have to be dedicated with this approach and stick to a routine, as one downward dog won’t give you supermodel skin immediately. Yoga isn’t just limited to your mat, and you can carry the yogic teachings into other elements of your life. The yoga philosophy focuses, among other things, on balance, dedication, purity, and detachment from excesses.
6. Meditate and BreatheStress can play havoc with our hormone levels, and can constrict blood vessels which can lead to wrinkles, break outs, or dull skin. It’s no coincidence that when we’re suffering from emotional trauma, going through a difficult time at work, or worrying about an upcoming event, our skin tends to flare up. Meditating, or practicing yogic breathing techniques called pranayama, allows us to enter a more relaxed state, allowing our bodies to combat the stress hormones and chemicals. Even five minutes a day can make a noticeable difference to how we feel and, eventually, how we look. It’s important to make sure you get enough sleep every night too, as this is when your cells renew. It’s all about embracing a holistic approach- healthy body, healthy mind, healthy skin!
7. OilSometimes our skincare routine can get overcomplicated, and we end up spending way too much on fancy products with a list of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, with no idea what they’re doing for our skin. Instead, we should get back to basics and use as many natural products as we can. Natural oils are a luxurious way to nourish the face, body, and even hair, and can be used in a variety of ways. Rosehip oil, for example, rehydrates the skin and promotes cell regeneration. Camellia oil helps to reduce fine lines, scarring and the appearance of pores. Jojoba oil is a natural hypoallergenic moisturiser and rich in vitamin E. These oils can be used as gentle and effective cleansers, by massaging a small amount onto the skin, and then gently wiping away with a hot face cloth. They can also replace your daily moisturiser, be used as an overnight mask, or be used in facial massage. For dry skin, you can’t go past coconut oil. I love to use coconut oil on my face, body, and hair after a warm bath, making me feel very soft and silky!
8. Superfood PowdersSupplement your diet with nutrient dense superfood powders and you’ll be giving your skin every possible chance to radiate. A green superfood blend will have an amazing alkalizing effect on the body, with a perfectly designed blend of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. An activated powder, such as pre-sprouted barley, is easy for your system to digest and contains high levels of selenium and chlorophyll, which your skin will love.
9. Get CleanSometimes it’s the smallest details that might be having a big impact on our skin. Think of everything you come into contact every day, and how much bacteria there may be around you. It’s important to wash your make-up brushes, face towels and pillow covers regularly so that you don’t ruin your efforts by accidentally spreading grime onto your skin. If your on your phone a lot, you may even like to wipe the screen clean with an antibacterial wipe or facewipe, to avoid transferring bacteria to your face every time you chat.
10. SunscreenIt’s so much easier to prevent damage to the skin than it is to fix it later. Sun damage is one of the major contributors to ageing skin, even in the winter months, so choose a broad-spectrum protection that protects against UVA and UVB rays.